Jim Yong Kim, a South Korean-born doctor who is president of Dartmouth College, was nominated Friday by U.S. President Barack Obama to be the next president of the World Bank.
As the biggest shareholder of the bank, the United States has selected every head of the global lending institution during its 68-year history.
Kim will be the first physician to head the bank and the second U.S. nominee to have been born abroad. James Wolfensohn, who was nominated by President Bill Clinton, was born in Australia.
Kim, 52, has been Dartmouth president since 2009. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who was been one of two U.S. officials tasked with picking a nominee, is a Dartmouth alumnus. Speculation arose over whether he might take over Kim's job at Dartmouth.
The new World Bank president has worked with the World Health Organization as director general of its HIV/AIDS department.
The leader of the World Bank should have an understanding of the role development has in the world, Obama said as he stood in the White House Rose Garden with Kim. It's time for a development professional to lead the world's largest development agency.
Brought to the United States as a youth, Kim graduated from Brown University and earned medical and doctoral degrees from Harvard University.
Kim will succeed Robert Zoellick, 58, a Republican nominated by President George W. Bush in 2007. Zoellick's term expires in June.
The World Bank, which lent $57 billion last year, is involved in financing public health initiatives worldwide.
Developing nations Friday nominated Nigeria's Finance Minister Ngozi Okonji-Iweala, 57, for the World Bank presidency. Former finance minister of Colombia Jose Antonio Ocampo, 59, was nominated by three Latin American countries. The board of directors will now select among the three, but Obama's pick of Kim, with his Asian roots, may go a long way to soothing fears of U.S. dominance.
Other U.S. prospective candidates known to be under consideration included Lawrence Summers, 57, a former U.S. Treasury secretary, whose name generated opposition from women's groups; Geithner, who has said he wants to leave public service; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 64, who also has announced plans to leave public life this year.